Human Rights Empathy Education Leadership


Striving for effective thought leadership by embracing George Lakoff’s empathy activities.

A caring values education movement requires caring values students of George Lakoff.

“Everyone has duties to the community in which the free and full development of his personality is possible.”

—Article 29, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Why Four Empathy Activities for Collective Caring Values Education?

Effective human rights values collective education embraces the latest insights of the brain that link facts with moral context. Moreover, cognitive scientists and linguists Elisabeth Wehling and George Lakoff write in Your Brain’s Politics: “The experiences we make as we live in this world result in physical changes to our brains. (That’s because) all reasoning is physical. We understand the world via our brains, which are part of our bodies. Any reasoning process is always a PHYSICAL process. In the cognitive sciences, this mechanism is called Hebbian learning. Experiential correlations lead to strong neural and cognitive connections. And so our cognitive apparatuses are heavily influenced by the experiences we make in our lives.”

Four empathy activities inform collective, caring thought leadership

The Four Empathy Activities frame the work of our weekly human rights thought leaders’ continuing education collective. Because empathy is the soul of our republic and its democratic institutions. Moreover, pro-empathy voters and their representatives enhance effective government when they collaborate to protect and empower one another equally. Furthermore, cognitive linguists now know that this American ideal in government can be expanded through the ongoing, repetitive, and consistent narrative. And true patriots never compromise their duty to care that protects and empowers all Americans equally.


Our trustees strive to be the first followers in our communities of George Lakoff’s human rights caring values education.

Teaching the difference between nurturing parent governing and strict father governing is the core of all of the cognitive scientist Dr. George Lakoff’s human rights caring values education. In fact, these two Nation-as-Family metaphors currently dominate American thought. First, an empathic, nurturing nation is achieved through a progressive, nurturant parents’ model of governance, which strengthens progressive democracy. Or second, a cruel, punishing nation is achieved through a conservative, strict father model of governance that dismantles progressive democracy. Furthermore, the Nation-as-Family frames are also used unconsciously in ethical business,  government task forces, and civil society organizations. Since people are morally complex and mostly unconscious of their core governing values, we can be manipulated by anti-empathy organizations. Consequently, it’s up to pro-empathy voters and their representatives to know our values and frame the human rights caring debate to strengthen democracy. Join us.

George Lakoff

 L-R: Dr. George Lakoff receives Paul Harris Fellowship Award in 2018 from Rotarians at the Berkeley, California, Rotary Club with Empathy Surplus Project Foundation founder and CEO, Charles Watts, and Edward Jones financial advisor, Jason Hillard, in attendance.

Our Trustees for Local Human Rights Values Education

Charles M. Watts

Charles M. Watts

Empathy Surplus Network USA Founder, CEO, and Trustee Chair

Chuck embraced local human rights values education with cognitive scientist Dr. George Lakoff in 2004. He joined Lakoff’s Rockridge Nation online community board of advisors in 2005. When Rockridge closed, Chuck pivoted to continue Lakoff’s efforts to democratize the latest insights of the brain for human rights values education. His Empathy Surplus Campaign launched in 2009 is now Empathy Surplus Project Foundation DBA Empathy Surplus Network USA. Chuck earned his business degree from Mississippi State University in 1972 and his MDiv degree from Sewanee in 1977. A social entrepreneur at heart and active in the public square, Chuck established an Episcopal Church in Mississippi and a clothing bank and Rotary club in Ohio. A financial advisor limited partner with Edward Jones for 30 years, he helped launch more than 20 branches. He lives with his wife in Wilmington, Ohio. Find a more indepth bio at this link. Email him at or make a zoom appointment. Here is a 2022 interview with Chuck on The Path Podcast. Find Chuck on Threads

Maribeth Chaney Bevis

Maribeth Chaney Bevis

Empathy Surplus Network USA Trustee

Maribeth is a retired classroom teacher who has reinvented her teaching skills to lead senior fitness classes for the last 13 years.  She graduated from the Neuroscience Academy led by Dr. Sarah McKay in Sydney, Australia. She uses the knowledge gained at the academy to understand better ways to help her clients maintain brain health and delay or avoid cognitive decline.  She has lived in several states and now resides in San Antonio, Texas. Email her at

Anita Lewis

Anita Lewis

Empathy Surplus Network USA Co-Founder and Trustee Emeritus

Anita Lewis, RN, BSN, is President and CEO of I AM CLEAN ENERGY, INC and CIRCULAR DEVELOPMENT LLC. She supports a resource-based, caring, circular economy filled with ethical businesses and poison-free communities. Anita’s energies address CDG, Circular Development Goal #6 – WASH, water, sanitation, and hygiene – especially in Guyana’s wetlands and the Guiana Shield Rainforest and Rupununi savannah, as well as Malawi and the Miami Valley in Southwest Ohio, where she lives. A graduate of Julienne HS and Wright State University, School of Nursing, Anita is an Affiliate Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. A Greene County, Ohio, resident since 1977, she established Roaring Brook Farm, A Demonstration Farm For Clean Energy, in 1986. Anita has served on the Greene Soil & Water Conservation Board as an Associate Supervisor since 2000. Her current favorite read is The Third Industrial Revolution by Jeremy Rifkin. Email her at

The Rev. Dr. John Paddock, DDiv

The Rev. Dr. John Paddock, DDiv

Empathy Surplus Network USA Trustee

John brings a doctorate in eliminating American racism to our local human rights values education efforts and has served congregations in Massachusetts, Maine, and Ohio. He is a founder of CityHeart, Dayton, Ohio, and in 2015, as rector of Christ Episcopal Church, Dayton, Ohio, the congregation became the first faith community to join the United Nations Global Compact to align missions around its ten principles focused on human rights, living work/leisure, and anti-corruption of government for the sake of climate survival. John has worked for more than two decades promoting housing human rights, most recently as co-chair of the Montgomery County, Ohio, Homeless Solutions Policy Board. In his retirement, he serves as a nurturant cleric at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church, Fairborn, OH. John and his wife have eight children, including six African-Americans, and have fostered more than 70 children. Email him at

Miriam Speaight

Miriam Speaight

Empathy Surplus Network USA Co-Founder and Trustee

A businesswoman and farmer in Wilmington, Ohio, for more than 20 years, Miriam is also a recorded pastor in the Quaker tradition, as well as a Reiki master.  Email her at

A Letter from the Board

Local human rights values education that promotes the duty to care is more important than ever. And we are humbled by the empathy activities of our parents and grandparents after World War II to enshrine the duty to care in the UN Charter. In fact, in the UN Charter Preamble in 1945, they wrote in part,

“We the peoples of the United Nations determined… to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedoms… have resolved to combine our efforts to accomplish these aims.”


Local human rights values education that promotes the duty to care is more important than ever. And empathy is the soul of our democratic institutions and the foundation to protecting human rights with the rule of law. Moreover, we collaborate more effectively with empathy. Furthermore, the empathy deficit we currently have in society, government, and the global economy were created over the last fifty years by those who reject empathy as a core governing value.


Despite a groundswell of pro-empathy human rights values education emerging, we must have all hands on deck to cultivate empathy. And the human rights to life and freedom in the context of our climate emergency are the strategic reasons the world’s people and governments need more empathy. Consequently, we hope you will consider joining us in ongoing collective human rights values education to build the empathy surplus needed in our local centers of influence.


Local human rights values education that promotes the duty to care is more important than ever. Yes. We did say ongoing collective local human rights values education. In fact, in 2004 our founder read Dr. George Lakoff’s 1st edition of Don’t Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate, which came with a 25 minute DVD. Moreover, Dr. Lakoff directed his readers to check out his think tank, The Rockridge Institute. And, the next year the Rockridge Institute launched Rockridge Nation, an online collective training community of practice. Furthermore, participants could read and discuss the material to practice how to govern their particular sphere of influence with strength, empathy for, and responsibility to others. Our founder served on that online community’s board of advisors. We are determined to continue that collective training.


Fast forward to 2021 and the Empathy Surplus Project Foundation (ESPF), with Dr. Lakoff’s mentorship and encouragement, is in its 14th year. We hope you will consider joining our zoom forums and embrace our Four Empathy Activities and start reading and inwardly digesting and discussing Dr. Lakoff’s insights into the brain on applying empathy and responsibility to the public square. 


Local human rights values education that promotes the duty to care is more important than ever. Yes. We do need to be involved in the electoral process. Every election at every level is a choice between a more empathic government versus an authoritarian government trying to dismantle it. Yet, more importantly, we need to unite behind both cognitive science and linguistics. Now is the time, to know and understand our empathic values and reframe the debate around empathy. Dr. Lakoff’s Introduction to his bestselling Don’t Think of an Elephant is entitled “Reframing IS Social Change.” If we are going to change the world, we must change our language, and repeat our language, to describe the empathic world we want.


Local human rights values education that promotes the duty to care is more important than ever. Yes. We have the science to make our “Duty to Care” stronger. For too long the science has been used by extreme conservatives to inhibit our duty to care about effective government and progressive markets. And the most important thing we must do is to talk continuously about the empathy surplus to care for our world. We can use cognitive science for good. I hope you will consider supporting us by 

  • Joining our Zoom Forums
  • Order complimentary human rights pockdetbooks for you and your family / organizatiion
  • Donate $1/mo to help distribute 2.4 complimentary pocketbooks per year.
  • Subscribe to our Pro-Empathy Voters Are the Solution Substack blog

Caring humann beings and pro-empathy voters are the solutions,


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Caring Thought Leaders Core Values


the soul of democracy


both personal and social


to govern with empathy and responsibility

Pro-Empathy Freedom Voters

Cultivate Empathy with

Culture Diplomacy S.H.O.E.S.

S - Show up at public and private meetings to cultivate empathy

H - Help elected officials cultivate empathy in civic tasks

O - Organize to cultivate empathy in civic tasks

E - Educate about human rights empathy, the soul of democracy

S - Start each day to publicly cultivate empathy

George Lakoff's Resources

The basic idea is this: Dr. Lakoff's resources are free and open to all. He will provide framing suggestions regularly over social media, and whoever receives them can decide how to use them, and whether to share them or retweet them.  Dr. Lakoff's process is bottom-up.

Dr. Lakoff also offers this framing service to activist organizations, media folks, and elected officials and their staff.

Pro-Empathy Pledge to the People of the World

(Recited while holding a neighbor's hand. People from other countries may insert the name of their country.)

I pledge my care to the people of the world

and to my neighbors in the United States of America

and to our human rights, which I defend and promote,

one world governed with empathy and responsibility,

with liberty and justice for all.

Empathy Surplus Network USA is a 501c3 local human rights empathy education community of practice that applies the latest brain insights of George Lakoff to moral and political discourse to protect human rights with the rule of law. To reverse our national empathy deficit, we invite you to join our culture diplomacy initiative to make empathy, the soul of democracy and ethical business, the center of public and private debate. Donations are exempt from federal income taxation under section 501(a) and described in section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

UNITED NATIONS GLOBAL compact resources

Pro-Empathy Freedom Declaration

I am a progressive -
caring human being
in a strong, diverse community
of nurturing families.
I am a pro-empathy voter and
govern with empathy for and
responsibility to others.
I here highly resolve that
this nation shall have
a new birth of freedom
- and that government
of the people,
by the people,
for the people
shall not perish
from the earth.
I am a person
with human rights.
I care for my own
Safety and Happiness
and that of others.
I am the solution to
expanding life, liberty,
and the pursuit of happiness.
And for the support of this
declaration, joining
progressive human rights
advocates and
pro-empathy voters,
we mutually pledge
to each other
our Lives, our Fortunes,
and our sacred Honor.